“Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5)
Moses was so important to the Israelites. He was their prophet, speaking the Word of the Lord to them. He was God’s agent of redemption, who confronted Pharaoh and led them out of Egypt. He was their intercessor, praying for the people of Israel after they had broken the covenant. He ruled over them and guided them to the Promised Land. Then Moses died. Who would replace him?
Moses knew that he would need a replacement. In Deuteronomy he said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from among your brothers. It is to him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 18:15). At first Joshua replaced Moses. God told him, “Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” Just as Moses sent spies into the Promised Land, so did Joshua. Just as God split the Red Sea for Moses, He split the Jordan River for Joshua. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses and told Moses to take off his sandals. He did the same to Joshua.
Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land, because Moses had died. Years later, Joshua died, too. Other people will try to fill the shoes of Moses, but they will fail often and they will all die.
Thankfully, God has given to us a new and greater Moses. This Moses is named Jesus. He will never fail His people. He once died, but then was raised from the dead and He will never die again.
This Jesus spoke the Word of the Lord and He still speaks to God’s people through His called and ordained servants. He is God’s Agent of Redemption, redeeming us from the slavery of sin. He intercedes for us as He sits at the Father’s right hand. He rules and guides His Church, until His people enter what the Promised Land prefigured: perfect rest inside the New Creation.
At last the march shall end;
The wearied ones shall rest;
The pilgrims find their home at last,
Jerusalem the blest.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Rejoice, give thanks, and sing!
(“Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng” LSB 813, st. 6)